Saturday, October 18, 2008

a warm run in the windy city

Sunday, October 12th was the 32nd running of the Chicago Marathon, in my opinion, one of the premier running events in the country. With a record 45,000 registered runners, some 33,000+ showed up for the forecasted warm day. Out of those, about 31,000+ managed to trudge along the 26.2 mile route through 29 Chicago neighborhoods and across the finish line. And among those that finished were my brother, Rhodri (4:22:31), his brother-in-law, Jim (3:00:52), and yours truly (4:29:21).

It was a great event, and for certain, one that I will do again.

Photos and details to follow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

t minus 2 days, 10 hours, 34 minutes

I've been keeping a close eye on Chicago's weather for this weekend, and it looks like we'll have a high of 75 deg F and 72% max humidity on Sunday. Ok, so that's not too bad. Everyone is still talking about last year's heat wave that forced the closure of the Chicago Marathon leaving thousands of dehydrated runners on the course. As a precaution, I'm planning on running with a hand-held water bottle. I'm so used to training with it anyway it's almost like an extension of my arm.

I'm still nursing my calf/shin splint/achilles heel issue though it seems to have gotten better these past weeks with a wrap around the calf area. My other issue, however, is my right foot which is suffering from a mild case of plantar fasciitis. I'm taping it for the marathon, and I'm hoping that it holds up to get me through the finish line with a decent time.

So barring any major injuries and freakish weather, this promises to be a fun weekend. Looking forward to carbo load with some of ChiTown's famed deep dish pizza.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the back bay loop

One of my favorite runs happens to be practically outside my door – the Back Bay Loop. It's a relatively flat, easy, paved, and picturesque 10-mile run that as its name suggests, encircles the Upper Newport Bay.

I normally start at the interpretive center (C on the map), head north (5) towards Jamboree and basically just following the bike path that wraps around the bay. The route takes me south along Back Bay Drive (6, 7, 1, 2) to PCH, before making a turn northbound through Castaways Park (3) and eventually back to where I started.

For our Chicago Marathon training, my brother and I have done this route a number of times, usually on a weeknight. It's a beautiful middle distance training run and a great way to end the day.

So if you find yourself somewhere around the 92657-92663 area codes and are looking for a nice little run, try the Back Bay Loop. You might just find yourself coming back for more. Oh the cliché!

The start. There is street parking or you can use the dirt parking lot.

Heading north along the bike path.

According to their website, they are the largest Mercedes-Benz Center in the world. A special prize goes out to the first person to comment on which dealership this is.

Cross over the bay on Jamboree Road to get to Back Bay Drive.

At the start of Back Bay Drive.

The local fowl residents.

The boat yard at Newport Dunes.

The busiest (traffic-wise) portion of this run, about 1/4 mile along PCH.

This is fairly new at Castaways Park. It was erected to honor fallen service men and women.

Refilling at Castaways. Note the little doggie bowls.

More bay views.

Only a mile and a half left.

All smiles at the end of a very nice run.